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Closing arguments in trial scheduled for today

By Ed Brock

One of the two defendants in a double-murder trial took the stand in his own defense Thursday.

Kenneth Ray Hilton, 36, said in his testimony that his co-defendant, 38-year-old David Hendrix, was the one who shot two men dead in Hendrix's Riverdale home on the evening of Sept. 5, 2003. Hilton said he thought Hendrix was going to kill him, too, and that's why he helped Hendrix dispose of the bodies.

"At that point in time I would have done anything that man told me to do," Hilton said.

Hendrix and Hilton are charged with murder in connection with the killings of Rodney Rozier and 48-year-old Algernon Sedrick Nash of Atlanta.

Earlier in the week 41-year-old Tina Davidson, who had dated both Hendrix and Hilton and just prior to the killings had stopped living with Hendrix and moved back in with Hilton, gave her testimony. She said that Hendrix had come to Hilton's Lyle Drive home on the day of the killing to ask her to come back to him.

Later that day he came back and spoke with Hilton outside. Hilton came back in, took a knife from the kitchen and left with Hendrix despite warnings from Robinson and her son Bryan Blackburn not to go.

Hilton said in his testimony that Hendrix spent at least two hours "ranting" about the situation between Hilton, Robinson and him. He threatened to kill Robinson and Hilton, and then began threatening Rozier.

Rozier was a long-time friend of Hilton and Robinson and, according to other testimony, Hendrix had accused her of being pregnant with Rozier's child at the time of the killings. Robinson said in her testimony that the child was Hendrix's.

Hilton said he tried to prevent Rozier from coming to Hendrix's house on West Fayetteville Road that night but in the end Rozier and Nash did come, supposedly so Rozier could sell Hendrix $40 worth of crack cocaine.

When the two men were in the living room Hendrix suddenly appeared with a single barrel shotgun and killed Rozier and Nash. Hilton said he didn't see the one shot that hit Rozier in the head or the shot that apparently hit Nash in the cheek, but he remembered the second shot that killed Nash.

Hilton said he thought he was next, so he obeyed when Hendrix ordered him to wrap the bodies in a blanket. He drove Nash's Cadillac around to the back, dragged the bodies through the back door and put them in the car. At some point he threw the knife he had brought for self defense into the weeds in the back yard.

Hendrix and he then took the Cadillac to a place off Sullivan Road near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and set it on fire.

After the killings, Hilton said, he told Robinson what had happened but Hendrix had threatened to kill Robinson and others in his family if he went to police.

"I was afraid. I did not want to go to jail for murder," Hilton said.

Hendrix did not testify. Closing arguments in the case are set for this morning.